Network Mayo is hosting an evening with Women for Election on Thursday, May 23, at 7.30pm, in Aras an Chontae, The Mall, Castlebar.
Get on the Ticket is the theme of the event which will hear from guest speaker, Niamh Gallagher, co-founder and co-director of Women for Election as well as a panellist of speakers comprising local female politicians and female political activists in County Mayo.
The aim of Women for Election, which was founded in March 2012, is to inspire and equip women to run for political office and they are running workshops and training events across the country to give women the tools and confidence to get on the ticket.
There have only ever been 92 women elected to the Dail since the foundation of the State and Ireland ranks 89th in the world for female representation. These are just two of the motivations behind Women for Election which is a not for profit organisation funded through a variety of channels.
In the Dail women only represent 15 per cent of the elected representatives while the number is 16 per cent at a local level. At the current rate of change it will take 250 years to reach 50 per cent female representation.
Two of the evening’s panellists are familiar names within the local political scene. Sinn Fein councillor, Rose Conway-Walsh was elected to Mayo County Council in the Belmullet Electoral Area for the first time in 2009 and is likely to go to convention for the European nomination.
Castlebar town councillor, Noreen Heston, is also a first time political having being elected to the local authority in the last local elections. She is currently the Deputy Mayor of Castlebar and wants to highlight to mothers in particular the difficulty that exists in balancing political and family life. According to Cllr Heston the workload is massive but it is all about prioritising and she feels she has found the right balance.
Hear about their journey in deciding to run for election and how political life has treated them since.
The next two speakers are fast building a reputation for themselves in the local political scene. Both have been appointed as local area representatives for Fianna Fail and both are working tirelessly to help rebuild the party and are regarded as potential candidates for the upcoming local elections.
Lisa Chambers, at 26 years is the youngest of all the speakers and is a barrister by profession. Ms Chambers is the local area representative for Fianna Fail in the Castlebar area and ran for the party in the last General Election. She fought a very strong battle but failed to secure a seat. However, she has continued to work for the party at grassroots level and at Ard Comhairle level having recently being re-elected as Vice President.
Joan Geraghty is well-known in Mayo as a journalist and author. She worked for the Mayo News and the Mayo Advertiser and is the mother of four children.
Ms Geraghty has written two books and is the Fianna Fail local area representative for the Westport area. This Castlebar native is now living in Westport and has embraced and engaged in political life with great enthusiasm.
This event is open to the public, both men and women, and will commence at 7.30pm at Aras an Chontae, The Mall, Castlebar. For bookings email firstname.lastname@example.org and for further enquiries call Toni Bourke, PRO Network Mayo on 087 612 5373 or Caroline Gordon, ex-officio Network Mayo, on 086 239 2365.
Anyone interested in joining Network Mayo, the leading business networking organisation for women in business, professions and the arts, can do so on the night.
Pictured above is Lisa Chambers, the local area representative for Fianna Fail in Castlebar, who will be one of the guest speakers at the Network Mayo evening with Women for Election in Castlebar. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography